Friday, September 02, 2011

Janet Jackson Up Close And Personal At The Greek Theater

Photos: Malcolm Ali/

Forget the second time around, good things come in threes especially when Janet Jackson's "Number Ones Up Close & Personal World Tour" comes back to town. If you missed the first two shows back in the spring, then this third show at Los Angeles' The Greek Theater was the charm!

But for many old head Janet fans--and the crowd did lean toward the grown and sexy set--this may not have been the Janet concert they were expecting. Where were the costumes inspired by European fashion trends, the explosive pyrotechnics, and the elaborate stage design and sliding set pieces? How about surprise special guest performances?

For this leg of the tour gone were those traditional attention-stealing trappings. Replacing them was an EQUALLY wonderful organic show without the fat dedicated to keeping your attention solely on one thing, THE ARTIST, still known as the chart topping Janet Jackson. And throughout the show her UNDENIABLE contribution to the world of music and entertainment was made apparent. A Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer she should be, but I digress...

To borrow from MTV, "Number Ones" was kind of a Janet Jackson "Unplugged" complete with a tireless team of dancers, great band, and even greater music! She was close enough to touch fans if she chose and constantly acknowledged them throughout the show with a wave, pointing finger, or signature hand made heart. She even chose two lucky fans that grabbed her attention from the audience to meet her backstage.

Through this intimate type of show the essence of Janet Jackson shined through. Dressed in a denim white jacket, black tee, black jeans, and probably her most comfortable boots, the tom boy at heart turned legendary performer, began her show alone on stage with throwback jam, "Pleasure Principle." Moments later the "kids" aka dancers joined her.

At 45, the petite powerhouse could have easily let her dancers do ALL the work, but Janet is a proven DANCER! It's a part of who she is, and though she did not do every move like the old days, she still delivered the intricate steps and memorable dance segments precisely like she did the video yesterday! I wouldn't challenge her to a dance off quite yet!

Then after "Pleasure Principle" the hits just kept coming! With 35 number one singles to perform, some were cut short, but the memories they brought ran long. "When I Think of You", "Love Will Never Do", "Nasty", "Control," Janet reached back in her musical catalog like a seasoned DJ spinning hits making the crowd dance, smile, and reflect! Even she appeared like she was having FUN on stage!

Time to slow it down! The lights dimmed and on the big screen some of Janet's memorable TV and movie clips chronicled highlights from her acting career. From "Good Times" to "Why Did I Get Married Too", we were reminded that before the music was the acting and the acting will continue to forever be. Then it was back to the music.

But thumping dance tracks aren't the only hits to Janet's musical fame. After the tv and film clips she appeared on stage alone to perform ballads including "Let's Wait A While", "Come Back To Me", and "Nothing". It was fun witnessing even grown ass men singing along out of tune unashamed like only them and Janet were in the room.

Afer the ballads the lights came back up and then it was time to groove again. "That's the Way Love Goes", "I Get So Lonely", "Scream," and then after a medley of a few more classic hits that familiar beat of "Together Again" signified the end of the show. Then as Janet sang childhood images of Micheal and her appeared on the screen, reminding us she's still the little sister who always has her brother's back. And while the crowd happily sang along, she took a poignant moment to sing to her deceased beloved brother. Never can say goodbye...

Despite the brief sadness of the moment, spirits were uplifted as the crowd jumped and sang in unison with Janet to what's become her signature last song of the night. And with that Janet Jackson's "Number Ones Up Close and Personal" show came to a close reminding us of who she is (not that we'd forgotten), what she's accomplished, and to look forward to what ever comes next!


Donloe Entertainment Center said...

I wasn't at the Janet Jackson concert, but after reading your review, I feel like I WAS there!!! Good review, chica!

Sarah said...

I didn't make it to the Janet Jackson's concert too and just like Donloe said your post helped me live the moment like I actually was present. Thanks! said...

@Donloe...I had you been there we'd been cutting the fool and conducting interviews. Journalists and writers that we are, it's sometimes hard NOT to jump into interviewer mode. But these days it's getting easier, real easy. LOL! What's interesting is seeing LEGENDS come out to support LEGENDS. Queen & MC Lyte, are hip hop royalty! Natalie Cole goes without saying. To see them grooving to Janet like regular folk is nice cause they weren't there to hate or snatch ideas, but to show they love her music too. said... are more than welcome! I truly enjoyed seeing J do her thang sans the extras. It's one thing to see an artist perform, it's another to literally see them ENJOY doing it. Seeing clips on YouTube and other social networks ain't like being THERE seeing the crowd and the fans sing and dance along. It's an EXPERIENCE not just a show.

mistyG said...

Amazing writing - felt like I was right there with you.